CREDITS: I would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont for providing much of the history one can find on this site. He is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England. For a story on Jeremy or to visit his site (New England Lighthouses: A Virtual Guide), use the corresponding link in the right hand information bar under "Related Links".

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I have set up this site as a means to share my photographs of lighthouses. Since retiring and finding more time to study photography, my interests have expanded a little. For some of my work other than lighthouses please enjoy my Facebook page at, John Shaw Photography. Come visit, enjoy, and 'LIKE' if you wish.

Also, for your enjoyment, I have provided a slideshow of our journey. To view it please use the link on the right under 'Site Navigation Tools'.

I sincerely hope you enjoy my efforts and use my site not only for information and education but also to provide directions for many enjoyable, inspirational visits to the beacons along our beautiful coas.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Pond Island Lighthouse

     Ten-acre Pond Island, just south of the mouth of the Kennebec River, has no pond; the origin of its name is unknown. Soldiers were quartered on the island during the War of 1812 to prevent the British from entering the Kennebec. In the 1820s, Pond Island became a transfer point for steamer passengers traveling from Augusta to Bangor. At least as early as 1819, “sundry inhabitants” of the area petitioned the government for a lighthouse on Pond Island.

     In March 1821, a quarter of a century after a lighthouse was erected in a commanding position on Seguin Island, near the mouth of the Kennebec, Congress appropriated $10.,500 for three light stations, including one on Pond Island. The first small tower was accompanied by a stone dwelling for the keeper, with three rooms on the first floor and two small chambers in the attic. The station went into service on November 1, 1821.

      In 1823, the keeper, S. L. Rogers, petitioned for a well or cistern at the station. “I suffer great inconvenience,” he wrote, “on account of having no means to obtain fresh water but by transporting it from the mainland.” Stephen Pleasonton, the Treasury official in charge of lighthouses, subsequently directed that a cistern be built.
    The first lighthouse was poorly built and lasted only until 1835. In March of that year, the district lighthouse superintendent advertised for proposals for the building of a new stone tower, 13 feet tall to the base of the lantern, 14 feet in diameter at the base and 10 feet at the top.

      The station was examined by the civil engineer I. W. P. Lewis for his 1843 report to Congress. Lewis found the buildings in poor condition; the 1835 tower, although only a few years old, was leaky. The tower and dwelling had both been built of slate from the island itself, a material that Lewis believed was unfit for the construction of such buildings. 
     Congress appropriated $4,000 in 1851, but the station wasn’t rebuilt until four years later. The present 20-foot brick tower was built and fitted with a fifth-order Fresnel lens in 1855, and a new wood-frame keeper’s dwelling was constructed and connected to the lighthouse tower by a short covered walkway. The focal plane of the fixed light was 52 feet above mean high water.

     A ferocious storm that caused widespread damage on September 8, 1869, did not spare Pond Island. The fog bell tower was and the striking mechanism were destroyed, along with the striking mechanism, but the bell was soon re-established. A new, 1,200-pound bell replaced the old one in 1889.

       After four years at nearby Seguin Light, Napoleon Bonaparte Fickett became keeper in 1926. In his 1940 book, Anchor to Windward, Edwin Valentine Mitchell wrote that Fickett’s wife, soon after they arrived on the island, heard the mewing of a cat that seemed to come from underground. It turned out to be the cat of the departing keeper’s family, and it had found a hole leading to cave under the island.
     All the buildings except the lighthouse tower were destroyed by the Coast Guard. Today the island is managed as a bird refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

Seguin Island Lighthouse in Background
     Directions:  From U.S. Route 1 in Bath ME., take ME 209 to Popham Beach.  The Pond Island Light, still an active aid to navigation, can be viewed distantly from the Popham Beach area.

     CreditsI would like to thank Jeremy D'Entremont, webmaster of,, for sharing the above history.  Jeremy is a speaker, author, historian, and tour guide who is widely recognized as the foremost authority on the lighthouses of New England.  To view a story on him, go to, (Jeremy D'Entremont).  

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